Half of all the cherries produced in Catalonia come from the Baix Llobregat county not far from Barcelona, mainly in the hillier areas. In fact, one town in the region, Sant Climent de Llobregat, was called Cirerer del Llobregat in the first half of the 20th century (cirerer means cherry tree in Catalan).
While the cherry has long been a traditional crop in the region and some 30 different varieties are grown, the most common varieties are the Burlat variety, which is the earliest to ripen, and the Starking Hardy Giant variety. Burlat has a dark red or purple skin, while it’s juicy and firm flesh is also dark red with a sweet taste. The Starking Hardy Giant variety has a good yield and produces fruit that is dark purple and firm. It is harvested later in the season than the Burlat variety.
Cherries are rich in fructose and have significant amounts of fibre. However, what really stands out about cherries are the polyphenols, which are excellent antioxidants, and the levels of potassium, which is a mineral necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle activity, as well as regulating water inside and outside the body’s cells.
Catalonia has a number of cherry fairs in springtime, although they have all been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus restrictions. Three of the most important fairs in Baix Llobregat take place in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Sant Climent and Torrelles de Llobregat.